Sunday, August 2, 2009

Links to "My Map" and "My Photo Gallery" and "People in my Photos"

My Map
Click on My Maps on the left and then on My European Adventure. You can then click and drag the map to see my place markers. Once there, click on More...
This gives you a choice of viewing photos, videos, webcams, and all sorts of information from Wikipedia. (The most southern webcam in Venice is actually the one that was attached to our hotel!)

My Photo Gallery
Sort through collections of pictures organized by place or activity.

People in my Photos
Picasa uses face recognition software to identify and sort pictures. This is a really cool function. Feel free to take any you like.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Last Days in Venice (to July 23rd)

After a trip to Tally to finalize my living arrangements while in the doctoral program, I finally have a chance to write about Venice...and what a topic! It is absolutely gorgeous and the most unique destination of our travels. No cars, no motorcycles, just a few bicycles, and lots of boats. I found Venice to be the most romantic place; one definitely should come with their honey.

Some of the walkways in between the buildings are very narrow, while others are vary wide. Most of the vegetation I noticed was in window boxes or near the canals. There were a few homes or museums with lush vegetation, but this was not the norm. The buildings border canals or large shopping areas in the center of each "block". Shopping ranged from 50% off discount shops to Hermes, Chanel, LV, Valentino and Prada. One definitely should come with money.

Everyday we ventured out to see what we could see. St. Mark's Basilica was huge and the plaza was surrounded by shops. We went first up one side and back down the other so we could see all the shops. It was a very busy place, full of tourists, I'm sure. We made a point to cross the Rialto Bridge. Built in the late 1500s, it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal by foot for 300 years. We also took a day trip to the island of Murano to tour the Marco Polo Glass furnace. The artistry of these masters is quite impressive.

The canals are a flurry with boat traffic throughout the day, but tend to be quieter and calmer as the evening gets late. Gondolas are EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING is transported via a boat. We saw a delivery of crates of fresh fruits and vegetables, construction materials, and a large wooden front entry door.

We stayed at The Hotel American Dinesen, on the San Vio Canal. Our room is in the cream building on the second floor in the middle (with the three doors). It was lavishly decorated in an old world style and I believe it was soundproof. I loved this hotel for three reasons...our room had a balcony overlooking the canal, we had a bidet, and I had all the ice I wanted! Yippee! (This was unlike the restaurants that did not serve ice. I even had one waiter say that "It's cold...what do you need ice for?" WHAT?! Hrmph! Well, when in Rome...or Venice...

When it was time for us to leave, we called for a taxi to take us to the airport and the boat picked us up right in front of our hotel. I couldn't imagine getting our heavy suitcases in the boat. I envisioned them tipping over and sinking out of sight into the water. The driver obviously had done this before, however, as the boat didn't even rock when we got in and took off in the quiet of the morning.

Be sure and view my slideshow of Venice on the right side of this page. The views are amazing!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 28 - From one extreme to the other...Switzerland to Venice

Pictures of Venice are coming soon. In the meantime, please take a look at my additions: the slideshows of each city, the digital video of Trummelbach Falls, and the survey regarding which country you'd most like to visit now that you have viewed them through my eyes.

My Digital Video of Trummelbach Falls

Day 27 - Luzern's Old Town

Upon arriving in Luzern we received an upgrade on our hotel room. I'm liking Luzern already. We ate dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the hotel where they accepted dollars, franks, and euros. I'm liking Luzern a lot. Luzern was a much larger city than I had anticipated. It was suggested that we cross "the bridge" and go into Old Town, which is what we did. It seems this bridge is the oldest existing walking bridge in the world.

I was really intrigued by the way many of the buildings were intricately decorated. There was even one with characters from "Where the Wild Things Are".

I also had to take the shot of the flamingo on the balcony across from our hotel. I wonder if the occupant had connections to Florida.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Schilthorn to Luzern - Gorgeous!

We did not realize how beautiful the scenery would be from Schilthorn to Luzern. The pictures simply do not do it justice. These pics are all taken from the train so may be blurry, contain reflections, or be washed out, but I wanted to give you an idea of how pretty it was. This is one of those "once you've seen one lake picture you've seen them all", so be prepared.

Funny story: One of the pictures shows a reflection of Jeannie holding her nose. A young businessman had taken his shoes off for a bit while on the train. Needless to say, he had stinky feet! UGH! Mass transit has its pros and cons, for sure.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Schilthorn to Luzern
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Waterfalls on the way down from Schilthorn... Amazing!

Okay. I really have to work on my commentary during video clips. I say "wow" and "Oh my God" a lot! I also noticed that my video was all over the place, but I wanted you to see all around the scene and see everything that I saw. Sorry! I just couldn't stop my enthusiasm! When we got to the end and over where we needed to catch our ride back, there was a clearing where all the parasailors were landing. That was pretty neat sitting there watching them come in one right after the other. When we got on the bus, there were all kinds of people who had been to the Jungfrau skiing.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Waterfalls
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On Top of Schilthorn

Film making at its best! Not really,just some pics and UNEDITED videos of the top of the mountain. It's been so long since we've had good Internet connections, I just wanted to get them up and out there. Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Top of Schilthorn
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First Day in Interlaken

Well, words can't describe how awesome this day was. We saw gorgeous scenery throughout the entire day. At this point, I want to live here. Mind you, it's summer and the weather is gorgeous. I can only imagine what winters are like. As we were making our way through the little town to catch the cable car to the top, we ran into two girls who are fellow FSU students. Adrienne and Kate are also in the International program, but they are studying the entire summer in Florence. They stayed with us pretty much all day until it was time for them to meet up with their group. They were so sweet! When we got to the top of the mountain we had a snowball fight. They made snow angels and built a little snowman, complete with pencil arms, a glue stick nose, and sun glasses. We had lunch together later and enjoyed our surroundings for the afternoon.

Here are just a few of the fantastic pictures upon our arrival in Interlaken and our trip up to Schilthorn.

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: First Day in Interlaken
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 26 - Interlaken

We arrived at our hotel in the shadow of darkness. It was cold and I LOVED it! I couldn't wait to get to bed; the earlier to bed, the earlier to rise. Here is our hotel in the light of day. We were on the fourth floor with no elevator! Jeannie and I struggled with our luggage, pully them up one step at a time the evening before. When we left, the lady carried them from the top to the bottom without ever stopping. She said she was used to it. You go girl!

When I awoke, I immediately jumped from my bed (it was cold) and threw open the windows to see what awaited me. What a view! The birds were chirping, there was a mist in the air, and the view of the mountains was fabulous! There were no other sounds but those in nature (an Jeannie snoring)! The cold air flowed into the room and within seconds I was freezing. I was so excited, though, I just stood in the open window and looked and listened in awe. Then I broke the silence with some yodeling. (Yes, I really did. I even recorded myself on my FLIP camera!) Can't wait for Jeannie to awake so we can get started up the mountain! OOPS! Gee, sorry I woke you Jeannie! (TeeHee!)